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India requests airlines in Vietnam look into possibility of direct flights to NE states

India requests airlines in Vietnam look into possibility of direct flights to NE states

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, the Union Minister of State for External Affairs, urged Vietnamese airlines to consider operating direct flights to cities in northeastern states of India on Saturday in order to boost investment and tourism prospects for both nations.

At the North East India Festival, Singh addressed a session on investment and commerce. Guwahati is known as the Gateway to Southeast Asia, and it boasts an international airport with direct flights to Bangkok and Singapore.

"All eight North East states are well connected by air, land and rail with other parts of India. I invite airlines from Vietnam to explore possibilities of connecting NE states with cities by air," he said.

Singh said that India and Vietnam are long-standing friends with their bilateral relations and friendship rooted in shared history. He said the relation has been further strengthened by India's Act East Policy.

"It has further fostered its strategic relationship promoting economic cooperation and strengthening cultural ties with ASEAN countries. Our journey from the establishment of diplomatic relations to comprehensive strategic partnership has been further enhanced since Prime Minister Narendra Modi's historic visit to Vietnam in 2016," the minister said.

The bilateral trade between India and Vietnam has increased exponentially since 2000 when it was only USD 200 million but it crossed the USD 15 billion mark in 2022.

The minister pointed out that he was aware of the progress made by Vietnam in the economic field after the 'Doi Moi' reforms initiated in 1986.

Vietnam has become a manufacturing hub for making high-technology products while still maintaining its strength in traditional agricultural, fishery and forestry products, he said.

Ho Chi Minh City is the commercial and industrial hub of Vietnam and the city is home to more than 300,000 small and medium industries in multiple sectors while the Mekong Delta is also known for its production of rice, fruits, vegetables and fishery items, he said.

"All the eight NE states have abundant natural and human resources and all have international borders which are integral to India's Act East Policy," he said.

The India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway is a part of the broader idea of connecting our NE states with the ASEAN countries.

Each state in northeast India is home to immense economic potential and the region is rich in horticulture, medicinal plants and organic farming.

''The region also has an abundance of raw materials, cheap labour and access to South East Asia markets. It also has the potential to become the manufacturing hub of organic products, renewable energy and international tourism," he said.

Both India and Vietnam have similar industrial product lists and there are adequate opportunities in automobile, textile, leather, chemical, plastic, agro-processing, agro-machinery, infrastructure, IT, and health care for entrepreneurs on both sides to explore.

North East India is well known for its varied geography, rich cultural history and heritage and the reason why it is visited by domestic and international tourists. while the hospitality industry is developing fast in order to match the growing need, the minister said.

"There is a need for more hotels and associated industries and so I invite hospitality businesses from Vietnam to identify investment opportunities in this sector. We will facilitate and extend all support for investments from Vietnam in India," Singh said at the 'Investment and Trade Session' also attended by 30 companies from North East India and 80 Vietnamese organisations.

Presentations were made covering a wide spectrum of trade and investment opportunities, from trade and investment relationships to prospects in sectors like agriculture, handloom, handicrafts, and more, between both countries, highlighting the advantages of the Northeast region.

A meet, where the tourism potential of the region was highlighted, was also held during the day in which 52 tour operators from Vietnam and 20 from North East India participated.

Union Ministry of Tourism's Regional Director Anil Oraw emphasised the potential for bilateral tourism and trade.

"We aim to introduce Vietnamese tour operators to the wonders of India. This mutual exchange will not only enrich cultural understanding but also stimulate tourism and trade business," he said.

Vietnam International Entrepreneurs Networking Club's Director Dinh Vinh Cuong said he would lead a delegation of 22 investors to explore opportunities in North East India in February next year.

He said the North East India Festival has given Vietnam the opportunity to understand investment possibilities and trade in the region.

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